Fresh flowers are in abundance at the Boulder Farmers Market Photo: Victoria Shearer
Boulder Farmers Market
Held biweekly, the Boulder Farmers Market sells
fresh produce to thousands of residents, who may also visit the tea
house, a gift from Boulder's sister city in Central Asia, Dushanbe.
Together these two enterprises provide a multi-cultural setting in
which the diverse population may mingle. Every Saturday and
Wednesday morning from May through October, this open-air market is
vibrant with color, a place where area residents come to shop,
browse and meet their friends and neighbors.
In the autumn of 1986, a small group of local farmers
decided to organize a formal farmers market to be located in
downtown Boulder, and approached the City of Boulder with their
idea. The city agreed to provide staff support, secretarial
services, meeting spaces, appropriate permits and a site for the
market. Boulder's Central Park, permanent, highly visible,
attractive, accessible and shaded, was chosen as the ideal site.
The successful project reflects the efforts of both those in the
private and public sectors. In March 1987, the Boulder County
Farmers Market became a Colorado non-profit corporation. Any
profits over and above those necessary to maintain the market are
made available for nonprofit agricultural and community projects,
such as 4H, the WIC Nutritional Program, the County Fair, and
Cultival, an at-risk teenage gardening project.
Not everyone can sell at the farmers market; its
primary purpose is to provide a direct marketing outlet for local
growers. Since small growers cannot compete with larger, highly
capitalized wholesale producers, the market provides them with
profitable retail opportunities. The market provides an abundance
and large variety of produce, some "heirloom" varieties not
available in local supermarkets, and some grown organically without
the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides. Workshops are held
so interested market-goers can learn about the products and get
advice. People love the idea of buying produce directly from the
field, and, best of all, they can taste the difference! Along with
seasonal fruits and vegetables, flowers and crafts are also for
sale. Sales totaled $900,000 in 1999.
The market has grown in other ways as well. Select
food vendors sell at the market, and account for nearly 40% of its
budget. Many charitable organizations set up booths to recruit for
their cause; special children's events are scheduled throughout the
year. A highlight of the season, the Chef's Event features the
cuisine of world-famous chefs.
Project documentation includes four pages of text, 8
x 10 color photographs, snapshots, a list of 1999 farmers and food
vendors, and newspaper articles.
Originally submitted by: Mark Udall, Representative (2nd District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.